Do you mind?

Sometimes we better use the rear view mirror for our observations, instead of the headlights. Like with deer. – old trucker saying

There is too much literature about the “I”, the ego, the self, or the mind, and too much of this literature is so terribly organised, structured in chapters, paragraphs, sections, with proud headers like “How our mind produces the sense of self” or “Evolution of the subjective ego”. Of course all these scholars are absolutely right in whatever they are saying, all the proof they rake together supporting their claim that the self actually does exist, or does not exist, is valid. We acknowledge the relevance of their research and are probably infinitely indebted to their inquisitiveness.

Yet I do not care. That force in me, whatever it is, real, imaginary, that is somehow working, it has, like any force, no essence. We learn about it through circumstantial evidence: the creation of art, scientific paradigms, humor, poetry. Or do we? Sometimes, and that is befitting in our culture of librarians, we desire a clear and precise description of what the “mind” actually is, the kind of descriptions we possess of diesel engines, chronographs, and capacitors.

I rather have a bunch of wild metaphors, like the old trucker saying. How many volumes do we need to explain its meaning in terms of neurons and axons? And how many more exciting metaphors could we create in the mean time, all saying terribly little about our “minds”, and all enriching the way we use them.


Published by

Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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